CHENNAI: The import of all the scriptural texts is elucidation of the nature of the Supreme Being. It is not possible for human beings to know Him as He is beyond the ken of the human senses and the mind. The texts vary from the revealed primary authority, the Vedas, to outpourings of mystics from their spiritual experiences and terse philosophical texts expounding the concepts systematically. The Saiva canon, known as the Tirumurai, comprises 12 works of which the 10th is the Tirumandiram of Tirumular.

In his discourse, Sri Mathivannan said two works like the Tirumandiram and the Bhagavad Gita could be compared to show that their objective was the same — enable man to realise his spiritual nature. Tirumular was a great mystic who, according to tradition, composed the 3,000 verses of the Tirumandiram at the rate of one verse every year.

While this raises the doubt of his extraordinary lifespan, this is explained to be due to his being a mystic (Siddha). But the real significance of his composition must be seen in the rich analysis each verse lends itself to, as the verses are pregnant with meaning. So it can be interpreted that each verse has enough substance to meditate upon for a year. Tirumular attests that he composed these verses by divine grace. The reason why the works of mystics stand the test of time is because their articulations are not mere words but are Mantras with immense spiritual potency.

The Bhagavad Gita, on the other hand, is the teaching of the Lord during His incarnation meant for application in day-to-day life. The thrust of Krishna's sermon is the primacy of discharging one's duty in life. Arjuna was confused just when the war was about to commence and tried to get out of the situation by pursuing Self-knowledge.

In His teaching the Lord pointed out that man can progress spiritually only step by step and as a warrior it was incumbent upon Arjuna to do his duty first: fight for the sake of Dharma. Both the Gita and the Tirumandiram highlight the rarity of human birth and the need to utilise this opportunity to realise the goal of liberation for which it is intended.